As many of you know, I love to read. I especially like to read books that cause me to think and that require me to look inward with some serious contemplation.
I just finished reading such a book. The main theme was about how times of adversity shape us and define who we are and what we become. I’m not sure why, but I started thinking about different defining moments in my life.
The formal definition for a defining moment is a point at which the essential nature or character of a person is revealed or identified. By simple definition, a defining moment would be ‘moments in our lives that define who we are’. These moments help to form your opinions, thoughts, attitude, and character.
As I look back over my life, there was one such situation that defines the way I conduct business and the way I approach my relationships with my clients. I can remember this particular situation as if it were yesterday. I remember every little detail and the weird thing is it was over 15 years ago.
It was early one morning on the next to last day of the quarter. Anyone that has been in sales for any length of time knows how important it is in making sure all business revenues get booked for the organization. For those in the preverbal “sales food chain”, every little bit counts as it can make the difference between someone getting a commission check or a quarterly bonus.
I happened to be sitting in the corner of the “sales bullpen” reviewing my plans for the day and I hear my name called. I spin around in my chair and standing there is my sales manager, her boss, and her bosses boss. My first thought was “what now”. I knew that I hadn’t done anything wrong as I was having a great year and I had already made my quarter. Well it turns out that what they wanted was more! They knew that I was working with a client, (who I had a great relationship with) that had told me they were close on approvals. Well the three amigos wanted it now, today, this quarter, and they were pulling out all the stops to force me to get it done.
My boss knew I had a great relationship with the customer and they wanted me to leverage it to make the deal happen. Now I’m not one to comprise my principles or jeopardize a customer relationship, but I was being backed into a corner, figuratively and literally. Long story short, selling an artificial deadline and leveraging my relationship, the deal got done. Game, set match.
Sitting in my car after a very long day, I was reflecting on what I had just done and instead of being happy that I had accomplished what everyone had wanted, I was mad as hell. Yes my client agreed to do what I had asked but I felt something inside me breathing its last breath. I finally recognized that, my actions needed to align with my true values. For me, it was a defining moment. I decided to shift my life in a better direction. I made a personal commitment, from that point forward, to never compromise my principals or my personal integrity.
We all have defining moments and they are all different for each and every one of us. It’s what you choose to do with those powerful defining moments that makes the difference between the mundane and the extraordinary. The difference for me, I listened, I learned, and I took action.
What is your defining moment? Is there some event that shaped who you are today? More importantly, what are you doing with it?
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.